Front Leg

A lot of you hear me talk about players not getting enough out of their front leg, and I preach a stiff front leg in delivery. This can be interpreted in many ways and difficult to explain to people. I liken this idea to a player who is trying to throw the ball from the outfield to get someone out at home. So get a ball, and go outside and make a couple of these throws. Get a running start and throw the ball as far as you can. If you are putting everything you got into the throw, then most likely your front leg goes completely stiff. When a player throws all the way home, the arm gets good extension and the body gets a step or two’s worth of momentum, then all this momentum energy goes into the very stiff front leg to make the powerful throw home. Tim Lincecum does this extremely well. Anyway, if you are looking for some more velocity, this may be what you are looking for. Remember, pitching is different than throwing from the outfield, a pitcher is more controlled with his body, but can utilize the front leg nonetheless.

Nice point. Post some pics of this, if you got it.

at what point in ur wind up should the leg stiffen?

Okay JR, the deal with this is it can be different for pitchers depending on what they are comfortable with. Pure finesse pitchers will land on a semi- bent front leg. which I think is the most common way kids pitch with. This makes them wonder where more velocity can come from. It comes from the front leg, power pitchers land on a semi bent front leg, then as the body lands upon it to snap the release, the front leg stiffens straight and drives the hips around, even giving more snap to a breaking ball as well. So the front leg stiffens right before the release. The arm gets slammed through the zone by this thing, so it is a split second before release to drive the release through the zone. Some kids have the front leg going stiff, but not in accordance with their throw, and they can still lack velocity because it isn’t being given a chance to help drive the arm through release. The leg will typically be bent upon release, and that doesn’t give anything extra. So what if it stiffens after release, that doesn’t do anything for the throw that already happened. There is a similarity to trying to get velocity from a pitchers mound, and trying to gain maximum velocity in throwing a ball to home from outfield trying to nail the runner at home. Okay, so I know there is a tim lincecum video that actually highlights this idea, or it did when I viewed it a few days ago. This is a good example of what I am talking about.

Watch the front leg of Tim really closely, and notice how he generates monemtum toward home(extra credit) More importantly, notice how he harnesses his momentum using his front leg to drive his hips. Not all pitchers that throw 100 miles per hour, get the arm slot he has, nor the glove side action, or even the slight lifting of the foot just before landing. What they do have in common is building momentum into power using a front leg to drive the hips.

Not everyone’s front leg locks like tim lincecum’s (obvious) He has worked to get it that way and one way that someone could work on this is by doing the throwing drill I mentioned. After you do this drill from the outfield, then take it and incorporate it into just playing catch and warming up. Get used to using your front leg in every throw you make. And lastly, keep up on it, old habits die slowly and many times a player will revert to old habits. So go out once in a while and remind yourself of what you should be doing.

i see the leg stiffen just a sec before the release. i also see that it stiffens as the back hip drives up. is this correct?

yes the front leg drives the hips. you are correct

[quote=“jlspencer206”]yes the front leg drives the hips. you are correct[/quote]The front leg cannot “drive the hip”. How can it possibly do this? The core drives hip rotation. The front leg only stops the front hip, allowing the other the be rotated around it. Same result, just a different description of what’s going on. Momentum generated in the stride is transferred by this “braking” action of the front leg. Although I don’t disagree with the value of the braking action of the front leg, I think it’s best to describe it as just that and not that the front leg can do any “driving” of the hips.

I don’t think Tim has ever focused on the stiffening or straightening of his front leg. It’s a result of the chain of events happening in a timely manner with good enough strength and flexibility.

Front leg bracing action is an “enabling” component, not a direct “cause” of hip rotation.

You typically see stiffing of the front leg in power pitchers. This happens when the hips completely rotate when the arm is in the external rotation phase(forearm lay back) of throwing. The muscles of the hips and torso cross and are built for rotational movements. When proper rotation of the hips and torso are achieved the front leg will firm up because it has no other choice but to do so.
A pitcher CAN firm up his front leg by not rotating his hips all the way…if the head, weight goes over the front foot instead of staying behind it. The leg will firm up.
Watch video closely…get a view from behind and check out the power pitchers. Their butt is facing 2nd base while the ball is still in the hand.